Day 12: Hobbiton And Tamaki Maori Village [17/10/16]

Today was one of the best and one of the most exhausting days because it was so jam packed - we went to Hobbiton and then onto an overnig...

Today was one of the best and one of the most exhausting days because it was so jam packed - we went to Hobbiton and then onto an overnight stay at the Tamaki Maori Village.

Hobbiton was absolutely beautiful, and we went on the first day in a while that was hot and sunny which was a plus! The area of Hobbiton is actually a farmer’s land that they got permission to use and it was an expanse of lush rolling hills that was perfect for the setting. We saw all the Hobbit houses and got to go inside one, sorry to burst your bubble but this set was only used for external uses as they don’t go far back inside - I was disappointed too, haha! Our tour guide Jordyn was fantastic, she was so knowledgable about everything and even gave us situations in the film that you would have seen certain areas in, she made most of the trip for me. We even got to have a drink in The Green Dragon, which was included in the price of our ticket!

With regards to the price, with the Kiwi Experience we paid $90 which included a return back to Rotorua (had everyone on the bus done the trip it would have cost $75 because the bus would have stayed). I think this was a tad too overpriced for what you actually got as it literally was just someones farmland. I understand how they’re doing it but they are using the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films to justify selling it at that price. It was a great experience but I don’t think I would be paying that kind of money again, it’s a “do it once” type of experience to say that I’ve done it you know!

From Hobbiton a few of us went on to get a transfer to the Maori Tamaki Village - this village has been set up for tourism purposes in order to teach everyone about the ways of the native people of New Zealand, the Maori! We paid extra to get to the village earlier and to stay overnight, but there was an option to just go for the entertainment and dinner. I am SO glad that I paid that little bit more!

First off we had to be accepted into the village before we could stay and they went through an accepting ritual for us - we had to sing a song of our choosing to our hosts and we chose “You Are My Sunshine” because it was an easy rhyme that is pretty much known worldwide.

Once we were accepted into the village we then went for afternoon tea where they had a selection of cakes, biscuits, scones, tea, coffee and most excitingly, hot chocolate! After we had finished we had to learn a children’s song which was reminiscent of our ABC rhyme that the Maori taught their children. It was more of a teaching of how to pronounce certain words than it actually making sense as we asked, and it didn’t actually mean anything as such. This was just SO fun and really cool to learn.

Our dorm had about 30 beds in it so we could all fit and they were AH-MAY-ZING!!! The mattresses were memory foam and we got to have 2 pillows, which to a backpacker is absolute luxury at it’s finest! So anyways we had a really extensive Q&A session with one of our hosts which was really interesting as he knew a lot about the culture, the origins and how it's perceived in the modern day society.

We then played some traditional Maori stick games before other people arrived and we began the nights entertainment. A LOT happened; a traditional welcome, haka, information stations about different aspects of Maori life, the showing of how they prepared the food and then onto an absolutely spine-chillingly amazing singing dancing performance. We then tucked into a huge buffet which absolutely spoiled all of us backpackers before heading into the hot tubs to end a perfect day! I also want to point out that we were involved in everything, and it wasn't just a showing but an experiencing of their culture.

I could go on forever about how amazing this whole experience was but I think I may save that for a post in itself. For now, I've given you an idea of what it was about for the sole purposes of this journal. Not sure if you got the fact that I fell in love with this place and the Maori culture!

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